Monday, September 05, 2005

A Dolmen For Sale!

It's hard to believe. In the southern part of the Loire valley, in the little town of Bagneux, there's a small cafe with a dolmen right next to it. We've been there, had a coffee in the cafe and admired this huge megalithic monument, an enormous capstone set on other stones, the longest in France. And the owner has put it up for sale on the internet (www.saumur-dolmen.com). I can't understand how the Lourvre, the French government or any proper authority can let this happen.

In case you don't know what a dolmen is: the famous Dolmen in Bagneux is probably one of the most majestic French dolmens and the largest of the 4,500 dolmens spread over about 60 French departments.

The overall length of this dolmen is over 23 meters (75 feet) and its chamber is over 18 meters (60 feet) long. As all dolmens, the 'Great Covered stone" in Bagneux, was a large chamber tomb which must have contained a great number of prehistoric skeletons during the neolithic age, i.e.from 4,000 to 2,000 B.C., that is about 5,000 years ago.

Only suppositions can be made on the way the dolmens were built. The flagstones must have been raised several times with numerous levers while pebbles were slid underneath the stone. Once it was raised to a certain level, and lying on a heap of pebbles, it was easier to pull it further. Then, the same operation started all over again. There's some nice pictures on http://www.saumur-dolmen.com/dolmen.html

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